What would I do without my friends? I would certainly languish –maybe not perish – but definitely languish, without my gal pals. I have shared here before the personal emphasis I put on my “Green Acres” marriage and my children, and I’ve also mentioned how supported I felt by my community when my brother died. What I haven’t touched on yet is the great role my friends play in my day-to-day life. I don’t only mean the friends I see regularly, but also the ones I have known since preschool (pictured above and below) whom I see once in a blue moon. A friend is a friend for life with me, no matter how little face time we manage to schedule.
Once, when I lived briefly in a new city, I found myself on the fringe of a group of couples among whom most had a long term, even childhood, connection. One evening my husband and I discussed the effort it would take to truly be a part of this set of people, and we realized it was daunting, and likely fruitless, so we stepped back. Eventually our move to the suburbs sealed the deal since urbanites view the suburbs as exile, and we were back at square one. Thank goodness for the East Greenwich Cowesett New Neighbors (www.egcnn.org) organization! Without it I would be trawling hair salons and supermarkets for friends. Not only did joining give me something to look forward to each month, but also a play group for my two little ones, a book club for me, and a bevy of women to hang out with.
One of the upsides of a newcomers club is that those who choose to be members want to make friends. It’s a veritable goldmine of possibilities from which many amazing women have emerged. Over the last many years I have come to know and love a unique group of beautiful, caring, intelligent, talented, and kind women. Many of us have travelled together, and whenever we do, I am reminded of how friendships are built – through shared experiences. The more ways I can find to be around the women that make me smile, the richer and deeper our bond becomes. Because of this realization, I rarely pass up an invitation to get together.
I’ve learned a lot about how to be a good friend from these women. A good friend makes a fuss on your birthday (usually in some kind of group gathering), checks in when you are facing a personal challenge, but mostly finds ways to make more memories, both large and small. I love it when my phone rings and one of my pals is off to the nail salon for a pedicure and wants to know if I can join her for a little catching up. Often times, it’s an email blast to go see a movie of a book we all read in our book club, or just a made up excuse to go meet at the local martini bar because it’s been too long.
The other excellent by-product of this gaggle of gals is that they have chosen well in the husband department, which makes it incredibly easy to get the couples together. One of the potential frustrations of friendship is when your spouse dislikes your bff’s spouse, and you can’t do the couple thing. Thankfully we don’t have that issue, it’s more of a scheduling/babysitting challenge, but we are up to it, and up for it.
This summer a group of eight of us headed to Block Island on our now annual getaway, supported by our husbands who stayed home with the kids. Again this year I came home glowing from all the great conversation, dancing, and laughter we’d experienced together, and I said to my husband, “My friends are a sheer joy to be with – no tension, no bad vibe, just good, good fun. Amazing.” His response…”As it should be, sweetheart.” Yes, yes, but still I feel exceedingly lucky! There are many wonderful quotes about friendship, but the one that best sums it up for me is from Emily Dickinson, and addresses the ‘wealth’ and ‘richness’ of friendship in a figurative way that appeals to me. She said, “My friends are my estate.” So true.